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International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)

Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org


Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

Image Watermarking using least significant


bit algorithm
1

1,2,3

FENWA O.D, 2AJALA F.A ,

ALO O.O

Ladoke akintola university of technology, pmb 4000, ogbomoso

Abstract
The advent of the Internet has resulted in many new
opportunities for the creation and delivery of content in digital
form. Applications include electronic advertising, real-time
video and audio delivery, digital repositories and libraries, and
Web publishing. An important issue that arises in these
applications is the protection of the rights of all participants.
It has been recognized for quite some time that current
copyright laws are inadequate for dealing with digital data.
This has led to an interest towards developing new copy
deterrence and protection mechanisms. In this paper, a digital
watermarking system was developed using Least Significant
Bit (LSB) algorithm. C# programming language was used to
implement the system and its robustness was tested using
different types of attacks such as distortion, saturation and
gray scale.

Keywords: Image watermarking, copyright protection,


secret message, digital image,

1. Introduction
In recent years, the distribution of works of art, including
pictures, music, video and textual documents, has become
easier. With the widespread and increasing use of the
Internet, digital forms of these media (still images, audio,
video, text) are easily accessible. This is clearly
advantageous, in that it is easier to market and sell one's
works of art. However, this same property threatens
copyright protection. Along with the advancement of
Image technologies in the past decades, storage of data by
digital products or transmission of images over the
Internet, in the form of texts, images or videos, have
brought about signicant progress for modern information
technology. Nonetheless, the increasingly powerful
software has also made it easy to gain unrestricted access
to the data in the storage media for further modifying its
content. As a result, data and copyright protection have
been important subjects in research and applications
nowadays. On the other hand, during the process of data
transmission, it often occurs that condential information
needs to be encrypted in order to avoid interception by
attackers in communication networks. To solve these
problems, several information hiding methods have been
proposed and studied for data protection and secret
information embedding, but these traditional data hiding
techniques often bring about permanent damage to the
content of the host media, which is not acceptable in some
applications [1].
Digital documents are easy to copy and distribute,
allowing for pirating. There are a number of methods for

Volume 4, Issue 4, July August 2015

protecting ownership. One of these is known as digital


watermarking.
Watermarks of varying degrees of
obtrusiveness are added to presentation media as a
guarantee of authenticity, quality, ownership, and source.
To be effective in its purpose, a watermark should adhere
to a few requirements. In particular, it should be robust,
and transparent. There two major types of watermarking
techniques, which are visible and invisible watermarking
techniques, Visible watermarks, as the name says, are
visual patterns, like logos, which are inserted into or
overlaid on images (or video), very similar to visible paper
watermarks can be seen clearly by the viewer and can also
identify the logo or the owner. Visible watermarking
technique changes the original signal. The watermarked
signal is different from the original signal. Visible
watermark embedding algorithms are less computationally
complex. The watermarked image cannot withstand the
signal processing attacks, like the watermark can be
cropped from the watermarked image [2].
Unlike visible watermarking, invisible watermarks cannot
be seen by the viewer. The output signal does not change
much when compared to the original signal. The
watermarked signal is almost similar to the original
signal. As the watermark is invisible, the imposter cannot
crop the watermark as in visible watermarking. Invisible
watermarking is more robust to signal processing attacks
when compared to visible watermarking. As the quality of
the image does not suffer much, it can be used in almost
all the applications. A digital image version of an
analogue image contains sampled values of the function at
discrete locations or pixels. These values are said to be the
representation of the image in the spatial domain or often
referred to as the pixel domain. Spatial embedding inserts
message into image pixels. The oldest and the most
common used method in this category is the insertion of
the watermark into the Least Significant Bits (LSB) of
pixel data [3], [4] and [5]. LSB coding is one of the
earliest methods. It can be applied to any form of
watermarking.
In this method, the LSB of the carrier signal is substituted
with the watermark. The bits are embedded in a sequence
which acts as the key. In order to retrieve it back this
sequence should be known. The watermark encoder first
selects a subset of pixel values on which the watermark
has to be embedded. It then embeds the information on the
LSBs of the pixels from this subset. In computing, the
least significant bit (LSB) is the bit position in a binary
integer giving the units value, that is, determining
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International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)


Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org
Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015
whether the number is even or odd. The LSB is sometimes
referred to as the right-most bit, due to the convention in
positional notation of writing less significant digit further
to the right. It is analogous to the least significant digit of
a decimal integer, which is the digit in the ones (rightmost) position.

2. Material and Method


Stages of the system development
Image Acquisition/Selection
Development of an invisible digital watermarking
software using LSB algorithm
Encoding process
Decoding process
Implementation of an image watermarking system
using the C-sharp programming language
Evaluate of performance of the image watermarking
system using different types of attach such as
distortion, gray scale, saturation,
2.1 Image Acquisition
Images were acquired through various media including
friends photo gallery on mobile phones and also from the
internet. The image format used was bitmap.
2.2 The Encoding Process
The most commonly used method to embed a bit is Least
Significant Bit (LSB) embedding as shown in figure 2.1,
where the least significant bit of a Bitmap (BMP)
coefficient is modified in order to embed one bit of
message. Once the required message bits have been
embedded, the modified coefficients are compressed using
entropy encoding to finally produce the BMP watermark
image. By embedding information in BMP coefficients, it
is difficult to detect the presence of any hidden data since
the changes are usually not visible to the human eye in the
spatial domain. The embedding process of the LSB
technique can be illustrated as follows: Consider that the
system is required to hide a watermark number 178 in a
2x2 gray-scale (8-bit) image. Lets assume that the image
pixels are 234, 222, 190 and 34. In an 8-bit binary format,
the number 178 is represented as 10110010. Since there
are 4 pixels that can be used to store this data, we can
easily decide to embed pairs of bits of the watermark to
the last 2 insignificant bits of the pixels. The process
therefore modifies the original bits from 11101010,
11011110, 10111110 and 00100010 to 11101010,
11011111, 10111100 and 00100010 respectively [6].
2.3 The Decoding Process
During the extraction process, the BMP file is entropy
decoded to obtain the BMP coefficients, from which the
message bits are extracted from the LSB of each
coefficient as shown in figure 2.2. After due
considerations, the Least Significant Bit Algorithm was
used to encode the texts on bitmap images using the Csharp programming language to code.
2.4 Least Significant Bit Algorithm
A raw bitmap image C is selected from the set of
standard test images. Let this be the base image on
which the watermark will be added.
Divide the image into four by four segments.

Volume 4, Issue 4, July August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

Extract the binary values of C.


Input the Secret Message, M. This will be the
watermark which will be added to the base image
Encode the M in binary.
Read the least significant bit LSB of C
Use a pixel selection to hide information of M in the
LSB of C
Save the new image (watermarked image-object) S

Figure 2.1: Image watermarking (embedding hidden


message)

Figure 2.2: Image Verification (Owners assertion)

3. Implementation
The system was developed using C#, the user interface as
shown in figure 3.1 is used to load the image into the
system and then further processing of the image using
digital watermarking is carried out.

Figure 3.1: The homepage of the developed watermarking


system
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International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)


Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org
Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

The homepage has two tabs; Encoding and Decoding. The


encoding tab is selected if the user intends to watermark a
particular image. This is where a hidden message
(watermark) is added to a selected image. Hence, the
encoding option is chosen.

Figure 3.4: The interface with the watermarked image on


the right.

Figure 3.2 shows the software with hidden text, selected


target image and password included in the entry field
above.

Figure 3.4 above shows the cover image on the left and
the watermarked image on the right. This shows theres
no visible difference between the watermarked image and
the original image.

In figure 3.2, a cover image (that is, the image to be


watermarked) is selected and the message to hide
(watermark) is supplied as indicated in figure 3.2. A name
and storage location for the watermarked image is also
specified and the also is the password. The password will
be required to decode the watermarked image so as to
reveal the hidden message. After supplying the required
information, the encode button to hide the text into the
image is selected.

Figure 3.5: The homepage of the decoding process


Figure 3.5 is the homepage of the decoding process chosen
to decode (reveal the watermark text) in an already
watermarked image.
Figure 3.3: The interface with a dialog box confirming
the hidden message has been embedded above.

Volume 4, Issue 4, July August 2015

Page 179

International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)


Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org
Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

4. Performance Evaluation
Different attacks that are applied to the watermarked
image to test the robustness of watermarking system are
(i) distortion, (ii) saturation and (iii) gray scale. The
extracted watermarks after applying various attacks are
shown in figure 4.1 to 4.6.

Figure 3.6: Interface showing how the watermarked


image is selected in order to retrieve the embedded
message.
In figure 3.6 the watermarked image to be decoded has
been chosen using the select watermark button.

Figure 4.1: Watermarked image with no attack on the left


and watermarked image with noise distortion on the right.

Figure 3.7: The interface in which the correct password


has been entered and the hidden message has been
retrieved.
In figure 3.7, the password is entered and the decode
button was clicked which makes the software reveal the
text embedded in the image during the encoding stage.
Figure 4.2: The interface showing error message when
the watermarked image is attacked with noise distortion
was decoded.

Volume 4, Issue 4, July August 2015

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International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)


Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org
Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

In figure 4.2, the system displays the watermarked image


corrupted on trying to decode a watermarked image that
has been attacked with noise.

SATURATED

Figure 4.5: Watermarked image with no attack on the left


and image with grayscale attack on the right.

Figure 4.3 Watermarked image with no attack on the left


and watermarked image with saturation attack on the
right.

Figure 4.6: Software displaying error message when the


watermarked image attacked with gray scale was to be
decoded.
The system displays the watermarked image corrupted
on trying to decode a grayscale copy of watermarked
image that has noise added to it as indicated in figure 4.6.

5.Results and Conclusion


Figure 4.4: Interface displaying error message when the
watermarked image attacked with saturation was to be
decoded.
Figure 4.4 displays the watermarked image corrupted on
trying to decode a watermarked image that has been
saturated using image editing tools.

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In this paper, a watermarking system was developed using


LSB algorithm and the performance evaluation test was
performed on the watermarked image after it has been
altered graphically (attacked) using distortion, saturation
and gray scale noise.
In conclusion, the paper has succeeded in showing the
importance of digital media security using the method of
watermarking. It has practically shown how digital
contents (images in this regard) can be protected from
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International Journal of Emerging Trends & Technology in Computer Science (IJETTCS)


Web Site: www.ijettcs.org Email: editor@ijettcs.org
Volume 4, Issue 4, July - August 2015

ISSN 2278-6856

unauthorized use and claims. Tamper detection or


unauthorized alterations are also evaluated.

References
[1] Frank H. and Kutter, M. (1999): Multimedia
Watermarking Techniques, Proceedings on IEEE,
87(7): 1079 1107.
[2] Latha, M.M., Pillai, G.K. and Sheela, K.A. (2007):
Watermarking based content Security and
Multimedia Indexing in digital Libraries,
International Conference on Semantic Web and
digital Libraries (ICSD). ARD Prasad & D. P.
Madalli (Eds.).
[3] Cox I, Miller M, Bloom J, Fridrich J, Kalker T
(2008): Digital Watermarking and Steganography
Second Edition. Elsevier, 2008.
[4] Wang, R. Z., Lin, C. F., Lin, J. C(2003): Image
hiding by optimal LSB substitution and genetic
algorithm, Pattern Recognition, 34: 671- 683.
[5] Kobayashi M, and Tewfix (1998): Digital
watermarking: Historical roots, IBM Research,
Tokyo Res. Lab., Tech. Rep., Apr. 1998.
[6] Song C, Sud Sudirman, Madjid Merabti (2009):
Recent Advances and Classification of Watermarking
Techniques in Digital Image

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